Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 5
Best offensive performance: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. Can't be any question on this one, folks. Sorry. Geno had one of the best performances by a quarterback I've ever seen. He threw 51 passes. Eight went for touchdowns. Six were incomplete. I counted maybe two or three (depending on your judgment) that had any chance of getting picked off. That's near perfection. Honorable mention: Nick Florence, QB, Baylor; Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor; Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia; David Ash, QB, Texas
Best game: West Virginia 70, Baylor 63. This one was too much fun. There was a lot of bad defense but it wasn't all bad. Don't overlook the fact that Smith and Florence are two really, really good quarterbacks throwing to really deep, with really, really good receiving corps. Not many defensive backfields could cover those guys well. Better than giving up 63 and 70 points? Probably. But this one was the game that left everybody talking on Saturday.
Second-best game: Texas 41, Oklahoma State 36. Sadly, this game got overshadowed a bit by the craziness of the early session.The Longhorns and Cowboys traded the lead six times, including four times in the game's final 10 minutes. It featured a pair of clutch Texas drives, and a fourth-down toss from Ash for the books at Texas. It also nearly ended in even more spectacular fashion, but we'll get to that later.
Best offensive performance by a freshman: J.W. Walsh, QB, Oklahoma State. Walsh didn't run as much as some expected, but he helped make a good Texas defense look very average. Much of the trouble was tackling downfield, but Walsh made great decisions for the most part and took care of the ball, moving the chains and capitalizing for big plays. He completed 18 of 27 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, adding 57 yards rushing. Great stuff from the youngster in relief of Wes Lunt.
Best defensive performance by a freshman: Fields. Is there any doubt that Fields is writing the early chapters of a story that ends with him being one of the best defenders to come through this league in a long while? In his first four games as a true freshman, Fields has five sacks. He finished with four tackles for loss against SMU and seven tackles, bringing his TFL total to 8.5, more than any defender in the Big 12. Crazy.
Worst play: TCU punt team. Facing a fourth-and-18 on their 25-yard line, the snap to punter Ethan Perry was mishandled, and SMU took over on TCU's 1-yard line in a 24-10 game early in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for the Frogs, Fields came to the rescue and the defense held, giving up zero points.
Best play: Ash to D.J. Grant for 29 yards. Facing a fourth-and-6 on the Longhorns' final drive with just more than 90 seconds to play, Ash stood tall in the pocket with the crowd at Boone Pickens as loud as it had been all night. He found Grant dragging from his left to right, and hit Grant squarely in the numbers to keep the game alive and extend the eventual game-winning drive. Mack Brown called the toss "unbelievable" after the game.
Biggest eye-opening revelation: West Virginia's coaches. After Saturday's game, they revealed to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman that Smith checked live at the line of scrimmage into a play that wasn't even in the game plan, because he saw something in the Bears' coverage he could exploit. The result: one of his eight touchdown passes on the day. Ridiculous. Smith's a whole lot more than a big arm, folks.
Second-worst play: West Virginia's defense on the final play of the first half. If somebody says to you, "Prevent this team from reaching the end zone 67 yards away in one play," most defenses would hold up. West Virginia's? Well, Baylor's Lanear Sampson and Florence hooked up to prove they could embarrass WVU to tie the score at 35 after the first 30 minutes.
Best play that nearly became legend: Walsh to Charlie Moore on the final play versusTexas. I was on the sideline for this one, and the play on the south side of the field (Boone Pickens Stadium, if you didn't know, runs east to west) looked like a mess. Walsh fired a backward pass all the way across to the north side of the field to Moore, who was all alone. He caught the ball about 10-to-15 yards right in front of me. I careened my head down the sideline ... all green pastures ahead of Moore. That kind of feeling? That's why we love football. Not much can duplicate that, and I wasn't even playing. I can only imagine what it felt like for Moore. With another block or two, that might have been the greatest play in Big 12 history, edging out Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree back in 2008.
Best quote: Dana Holgorsen, on Smith's day. "He was 45-of-51 for 656 yards with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Can you please explain to me how you can improve on that?"
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